27 June 2008- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was sworn in on Sunday after being declared overwhelming winner of a one-man election which observers said was scarred by violence and intimidation.

The re-run was conducted on 27 June 2008.

Mugabe was the only candidate and went ahead with the vote despite a wave of international censure.

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the race after Mugabe’s party ZANU-PF opened a rein of terror.

War veterans and ZANU-PF youths terrorised people in rural areas for having voted for the opposition.

ZANU-PF’s systematic campaign of violence killed nearly 90 of Tsvangirai’s followers making a free and fair election impossible.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said Mugabe won 85.51 percent of the vote.

Before I re-run, Mugabe had 43.2 percent in elections in March which Tsvangirai won with 47.9 percent, short of the absolute majority needed for a first-round victory.

The commission said turnout was 42.37 percent, almost exactly the same as in March. Human rights groups and witnesses accused pro-Mugabe militias of forcing people to vote in some areas.

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) observer mission also said on Sunday the poll had been marred by pre-election violence and did not reflect the will of the country’s people, dealing a serious blow to Mugabe’s legitimacy.

The regional grouping, which has stood by the veteran leader in the past, said the vote did not conform to regional election guidelines, despite voting on election day being peaceful.

“Based on the above-mentioned observation, the mission is of the view that the prevailing environment impinged on the credibility of the electoral process,” according to a statement by SADC seen by Reuters on Sunday.

“The elections did not represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Pan-African parliament observers, one of the few groups able to monitor the ballot, said it was so flawed it should be rerun.

The electoral commission released Friday’s results in under 48 hours, compared to five weeks for the March poll.

Mugabe, 84 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, was quickly sworn in for a new five-year term in a ceremony on the lawns of state house, with a military band, marching honour guard and judges in red robes and white wigs.

Zwnews/ Reuters